The description for the tag reads:

Refers to the large group of creatures based in magic in mythology, fantasy, and science fiction, such as elves, dwarves, and unicorns. Not to be confused with aliens.

This has 71 questions.

Given the fairly wide scope of this tag, it seems strange to me that we have separate tags for all of these creatures:

There are some magical creatures that have struck out on their own and seem to be doing quite well as their own tag:

  • (23 questions, 1 follower)
  • (61 questions, 7 followers)
  • (38 questions, 1 follower)
  • (77 questions, 4 followers)

I think the [magical-creatures] tag has overshadowed some of the smaller tags. The fist set are often unused on questions where they would be relevant. For example, there are lots of questions that include the term “unicorn”, should probably have a [unicorn] tag, but don’t. (Search) At the scale it’s being used, I don’t see how useful it is for filtering questions at the moment.

Thinking about it harder, I have some competing suggestions:

  1. Delete the small tags and just make [magical-creatures] the canonical tag. (This was my original suggestion.)
  2. Delete all of the tags listed above except [magical-creatures].
  3. Try to increase the usage of the small tags so that they get a more complete coverage of the topic, and can act as a decent filter for their topic.

As originally phrased, this question was essentially a bit of an unsubstantiated rant. “I think we should do option 1, who’s with me?” When I stop and think about why I wanted to clean up the tags, I realise it wasn’t as clear-cut as I thought. I’ve explained my problems with the current tags, and suggested an alternative which is hopefully more amicable.

  • I don't mean to make it sound personal, but what harm did those tags to do you or your enjoyment of the site, that you seem so keen on having them removed? Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 2:17
  • @DVK I’ve tried to expand my explanation, and offered an alternative course of action to take, which will hopefully make the small tags more useful.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 5:25
  • 2
    @DVK 'Personal harm' isn't relevant, as it's not one of the reasons we keep or remove tags.
    – user1027
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 5:26
  • 1
    Huh, I thought DVK's refrain sounded familiar.
    – user1027
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 5:37
  • 1
    Your note about the lack of usage of the tags is why I almost never bother searching by tag unless I specifically recall a question having the tag associated. I almost always do a title search ("unicorn is:question").
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 11:37
  • Err.. Question/body search, not title search. Sorry - too early in the morning.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 12:57
  • @Keen - as I noted in the comment thread you found, the tags fully fit within Beofett's definition of what makes a good useful tag. So if that's your criteria, this question should be deleted and those tags left alone. Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 14:31
  • 2
    I'm a proponent of tags, as a user. If you want to find specific questions, it's better to use the search. But if you want to peruse topics, tags are a wonderful way to go. I support this clean-up, because I'd much rather peruse "magical-creatures" as a whole, than just "centaurs" or "phoenixes". However, I think "centaurs", "phoenix", "unicorns", and "basilisk" are primarily just [harry-potter] questions where no extra creature/character tag is needed. "Elves" and "dwarves" are similarly [lotr] questions.
    – user31178
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 20:52
  • 1
    Just some possibly useful/interesting metrics for discussion: search: "[phoenix]" (tag only): 11 results. search "phoenix" (phrase, no tag): 791 results. search "phoenix is:question": 223 results. search "phoenix is:question [harry-potter]": 173 results. you can also add in/exclude some x-men/comics related stuff.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 22:08
  • The 223 results filtered for questions don't necessarily mean that the questions are about phoenixes, but if you're trying to peruse questions about them, I'd think that that's the way to go versus using tags.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 22:09

4 Answers 4


No, those tags shouldn't be removed.

  • They don't cause any harm whatsoever

  • They are useful in searching, e.g. when I want specifically Unicorn questions (either HP only, or may be cross-universe research).

  • More specific to your retagging proposal, it's also problematic because general tag is non-obvious tag to use to a random person asking the question.

  • 1
    Yeah, magical-creatures seems too broad to be useful. Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 2:53
  • I would actually do the opposite to the OP - remove [magical-creatures] entirely and split them out into the creature tags themselves.
    – Robotnik
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 6:27

I see no issue with this, as long as you're...

  • ...willing to commit to re-tagging any new questions that use the old tags


  • ...happy to direct users to this meta if there are any issues arising.

That way, we won't end up with both sets running at the same time or any arguments over why tags have been removed.

  • 2
    don't we have to do this with all of the re-tags we've been doing?
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 13:25
  • 1
    I think it should be the personal responsibly of whoever has appointed themselves as tag - sheriff to keep the peace afterwards.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 14:52

I think that the blurb at the end about not covering aliens is pretty goofy, given how prolific aliens are in material that's on topic for this site. I say that if we're gonna keep , we change it into something that properly acts as a broad tag for non-existing creatures. Maybe or . Something that covers the various beings that are science fictional or fantastic.

  • We keep [science-fiction-genre] and [fantasy-genre] tags separate, with 56 and 57 questions respectively. If you have a [fictional-creatures] tag, should it then be clarified with a genre tag (if the question clearly calls for either a science-based or fantasy/magic-based answer)?
    – user31178
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 20:59
  • @CreationEdge The genre tags are for questions about the genres, not labeling which genre you want answers from. Could you provide an example of what you're talking about? When would I realistically want information about a science fiction (i.e. non-fantasy) unicorn that wasn't from a specific work that could already be tagged?
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 11:47
  • My thought is some creatures, like dragons, may appear in both types of works. See Reign of Fire vs Desolation of Smaug. Werewolves, vampires, and zombies also appear in both types of works.
    – user31178
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 14:55

No, they shouldn't be removed, but "phoenixes" should be changed to "phoenices", and instead of "Magical Creatures", we should call them "Magical Critters" or "Magical Varmints".

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